Choose joy

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Photo by Bekka Mongeau

I wrote this article to remind you (and myself) that every day presents you with opportunities to choose joy.  Caught up in the hustle and bustle of your life, it’s easy to forget that joy is even an option.

Even highly successful people forget to choose joy

The lives of others may seem amazing to you. Yet even the super-rich, celebrities, and people who seem to have everything anyone could desire may not remember (or feel able) to choose joy.

I’ve been watching a surf documentary, following the incredible professional surfers who were competing on the world tour.

And I couldn’t help but feel sad for quite a few of them. That surfing so beautifully, which seems to me like one of the most joyful activities a human can do, doesn’t seem to bring them much joy.

Life isn’t easy

Maybe it feels impossible for you to choose joy. After all, there are so many reasons to feel miserable, right?

Life is indeed hard, and for far too many people it’s just a daily slog, on repeat. Nonetheless, this is often more of a perspective than a reality.

Your personal ‘hand of cards’

You’re born with a unique set of physical characteristics (and quite a bit of personality), which is dictated by your genes. Over and above that, things you can’t change include the occasion of your birth, the family you were born into, your race, nationality, and your socio-economic context to name just a few.

There’re myriad factors that play into your life as you grow up, most of which are pretty much beyond your control. That’s why it’s so hard to be a kid! You don’t have many choices and far too often, no one really asks your opinion. You don’t get much input into your life until you’re grown up.

Even when you’re an adult, you might not have a lot of control over your external circumstances. Yet there are always chances to choose joy in your day.

You already have the ability to choose joy

The funny thing is that you were born knowing how to choose joy. Even if you were the grumpiest baby there were times you melted into delighted laughter.

You were born loving every part of your body, and you were fascinated by what it could do. Ever seen a little one playing with their toes? Your body made you feel joy.

You were born loving how you looked. Watch a small child smile when they see themselves in the mirror. When you were little you were delighted by your own image.

When you were a small child, simple things filled you with happiness. Your favourite toy might have been expensive and complicated, but just as likely it was something simple.

When I was a kid I lived in a windy South African town.  On blustery days my mom would tie pieces of wool to a plastic bag and tell me it was a kite. Watching my ‘kite’ flap and dive in the wind will always be a special memory for me. What small things did you love to do when you were a kid?

Blue Footed Booby Success Formula: how to choose joy

  1. Remind yourself that you already have the capacity to choose joy.
  2. Ask yourself: how can I choose joy at this moment?
    • To paraphrase Paulo Coelho, who is such an amazing thinker: “You can’t always be happy but you can always have fun” (and thus feel joy).
  3. Act on that choice

Choose joy, Boobies, whether it’s in something tiny or something big. There’s fun to be had and joy to feel. And choose joy now, today, because this moment, this day, will never come again.

If the things that used to bring you joy just don’t anymore, or if you can’t find joy no matter how hard you try, something is wrong. You may have depression, Booby. In which case, reach out to your GP or a licensed therapist because depression hijacks your joy, but it’s super treatable.

Hope you enjoyed this article and that you take a moment to feel joy right now 🙂

Please share it on social media, and feel free to shoot me an email or leave me a comment.

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